“Follow a high line between arroyos on Lost Dog's longest ridgeline path.”
— Brendan Ross
Wildflowers · Wildlife
Trails around the Franklin Mountains are often rocky and technical, so runners unfamiliar with rough terrain should use caution. Trail shoes with rock plates are strongly recommended.
El Paso is in the desert, so be wise about the climate. Summers are regularly in the 90's or above, winters will drop to the 30's and 40's. Lightning storms are frequent in the late afternoons during the warmer months. Winds are frequent and gusts over 50 mph are not unusual. Dust storms, strongest in the late spring, can be hazardous and reduce visibility to less than a quarter mile. Check the weather before you go, and let someone know where you will be.
Mountain biking is popular in the Lost Dog area, and while runners have the right of way over cyclists, it's often the safer option to step or run to the side to allow them to pass. Sometimes you'll get thanked, but usually not - but better to be a good user of the trail than to end up in a cactus, tangled in some guy's derailleur.
Branching off from Worm
not long after it splits from El Refri
to the north, El Paso del Norte continues in the same manner as its predecessor - meandering along an elevated, mostly flat singletrack a hundred feet above dry arroyos on either side. The trail is perfect for running at dusk, as a westbound run offers gorgeous views of the sunset across the Chihuahuan Desert.
After about six-tenths of a mile, a rocky runoff segment splits from the trail, near a faint shortcut to the west that is easy to miss. While the runoff can be followed down the hill, it is uneven and slippery, so continue on the trail as it turns to the right, switching back as it descends. At the bottom of the hill, the trail ends at the intersection of El Refri
Flora & Fauna
The Franklins are filled with desert wildlife and you'll have the chance to see all sorts of plants and animals on a run. Vegetation is best during the rainy months around summer when the desert blooms and the plants turn green. Jackrabbits, lizards and roadrunners are common, occasionally snakes will be on or near the trail. Watch for rattlers and give them a wild berth. If you get caught out past sundown, you may hear a few coyotes. Their howls are unnerving, but they generally leave people alone.